What is a BJJ Red Belt?

The BJJ Red Belt is a belt that is reserved for those who are considered to have made a significant contribution to the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It is technically a ninth degree black belt and it is the highest possible rank that can be achieved by a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner.

Many people presume it is a natural progression from black belt but this is not the case. It should not really be considered alongside the other colored belts as it is in many ways unattainable for 99.9% of black belts.

There is no clear criteria for the belt although a few people have offered their own thoughts on what constitutes the awarding of one. Renzo and Royler Gracie have stated that red belt is reserved “for those whose influence and fame takes them to the pinnacle of the art”

Political

Many of the recipients of the belt to date have a direct blood connection to the Gracie brothers. However there are a number of other recipients that are connected to the alternative Oswaldo Fadda lineage.

Since the death of Heilo there seems to be a lack of hierarchical structure that regulates the awarding of the red belt. This problem was seen recently in the award of a red belt to Rickson Gracie by his older brother Rorion. The subjective nature of the award by Rorion led many people to question the process. Rickson subsequently stopped wearing the belt and said in order to be a truly legitimate red belt, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu needs a body of members who can decide who and when to promote to red belt as opposed to the award being decided on by only one person.

Coral Belts

Red and Black Belt (Coral Belt)

The Red and Black Belt is technically a seventh-degree black belt. The IBJJF guidelines state that a student must remain at the rank for 7 years before moving up in rank. If a student receives a black belt at 19 years old, then the earliest they would be eligible for this Coral belt would be 50 years old.

Red and white belt (Coral belt)

The Red and Black Belt is technically a eight-degree black belt. Just like the previous Coral belt the IBJJF guidelines state that a student must remain at the rank for 7 years before moving up in rank. If a student receives a black belt at 19 years old, then the earliest they would be eligible for this Coral belt would be 57 years old.

Red belt

The red belt, technically a ninth-degree black belt and it is the highest possible rank that a living practitioner of BJJ may attain.

If a student receives a black belt at 19 years old, then the earliest they would be eligible for this Coral belt would be 67 years old. A full up to date list of the current holder of Red Belts can be seen here.

10th Degree Red Belt

The 10th Degree Red belt is reserved for the pioneers of the sport and has only ever been awarded to the first generation Gracie brothers: Carlos, Oswaldo, George, Gaston and Helio. The owners of these belts are typically referred to as grandmaster. There are currently no living recipients.